Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – The Jakarta government abruptly canceled the appointment of Donny Andy Saragih as new president director of city bus operator TransJakarta after it emerged on Monday that he has been convicted of crime of deception and extortion.
Donny, who assumed the top executive job on Thursday, was dismissed for concealing information about his criminal case prior to his appointment.
"The cancellation is made because Donny Saragih, who is the deputy chairman of the Jakarta Transportation Council for the 2017-2022 term, has delivered false statements for his personal interests during the selection process for an executive post at the municipally-owned enterprise," Faisal Syafruddin, head of the Jakarta Municipally-owned Enterprises Development Office, said in a statement.
"He has signed a statement that he was never convicted of any crime, which now proved to be untrue," Faisal said.
Donny has been sentenced to two years in jail by the Supreme Court since February last year after a lengthy appeal process, but it was unclear why he remains a free man.
According to the court documents, Donny and a co-worker had deceived and extorted their superior while they were working for private bus company Lorena Transport back in September 2017. They tricked Lorena president director Gusti Soerbakti into believing that the Financial Services Authority, or OJK, was suspecting fraudulent stock trade by the company.
Donny, then was Lorena's operational director, fabricated text messages as if they were from the OJK, demanding the company to pay $250,000 for the case to be forgotten, according to the court documents. Lorena's corporate secretary Orman Tambunan persuaded the president director to make the payment.
It was after Gusti handed $170,000 to Donny and Orman to be channeled to the OJK in October 2017 when he realized something went wrong and reported both men to the police.
They were found guilty of fraud by the Central Jakarta District Court in August 2018 and sentenced to one year in jail. Their appeal was rejected by the Jakarta High Court, prompting them to go to the Supreme Court. However, not only did the Supreme Court uphold their conviction, it also doubled their jail term.
Under the Indonesian judiciary system, a Supreme Court verdict is deemed final and binding on which the prosecutors can send a convicted person to jail.
Resigned or fired?
Donny said he has submitted resignation out of respect to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who entrusted him with the chief executive post in arguably the country's largest city bus operator company.
"I must step aside because of my respect to Mr. Governor. He has appointed me but now he comes under public inquiry, so I feel sorry for him," Donny said by phone.
Separately, Jakarta Ombudsman chairman Teguh Nugroho questioned why a convicted criminal could go undetected to win a top post in one of Jakarta's largest municipally-owned companies.
"His verdict is final and he should have been imprisoned," Teguh said of Donny. "The cancellation by the city government is a good corrective measure but we will continue investigating this," Teguh said.